Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Peak (Phosphate Peak)

Phosphate Peak looms over my parents neighborhood. I couldn't find much info on the trail status or if a trail exists at all so I resorted to google earth. The satellite images clearly show a ROAD all the way to the top. So after some exploring I found the "road", brought my dog, and we went for a trail run to the top on memorial day.

I underestimated my dogs stamina. She literally lied down on the top and panted for 5 minutes while I enjoyed the view. Bless her little heart.

Black Peeler Buttress, LCC

Western Grebe
5.8R Trad
4 pitches

It is rock climbing season.

My climbing mentor, Dave, Luke, and I headed up Little Cottonwood Canyon, Utah for a multipitch granite slab climb. We hiked up to the Black Peeler Buttress and climbed up 2 pitches of the Western Grebe(5.8) route.

Route details:

Friday, May 25, 2012

Peaks: Rainier, St. Helens, and Adams

6 days, 3 peaks, 50,000 ft. elevation change.

I have attempted Mt. Rainier twice before this attempt in May 2012.  I turned around both times due to poor visibility and high wind speeds (October 2011, March 2012).  This time, I chose to try to climb in season (May) and hope the conditions are better.

Mt. Rainier: Luke (climbing partner and friend) and I left Pullman, WA at 6 am. We got to Mt. Rainier sometime after 1 pm. and started climbing up to Camp Muir (basecamp) around 2 pm.  We climbed 4,000 vertical feet and reached camp at 7:30. We melted snow for water, cooked dinner, readied our packs for the following day and got in our sleeping bags around 9:30 pm. We felt good, but we didn't give our bodies a chance to acclimatize or recover.  We had a weather window and we didn't want to lose our chance!  We arose at 1 am and left camp at 10,000 ft for the summit at 2 am.

We tied in to the rope (shortened to 30 meters) to protect ourselves from crevasse falls and with our headlamps started across the Cowlitz glacier towards Cadaver Gap.  From the gap we made our way up the Ingraham Glacier via the Ingraham Direct route.  The route essentially goes straight up the glacier 4,000 vertical feet to the summit. We made great time and we climbed to 13,000 ft. very quickly. We were on the summit dome before sunrise, but we still had 1,400 vertical feet to climb. The last 1,400 ft took just as long as the first 3,000 ft we climbed in the dark!  The combination of sleep deprivation and lack of adequate acclimatization made the climbing slow and exhausting.  I have never felt worse on a mountain in my life.  I pushed through the pain (perhaps unwise) and continued upward.  We reached the summit at 9 am. The summit had about 15-20 mph winds and temperatures between 5 and 10 degrees F.  I figured I had a mild case of AMS (acute mountain sickness) and we decided to head down soon.  When we reached 13,000 ft, I suddenly felt 100 x better.
We descended the way we came, took a nap at base camp and were back at 4,500 ft and at the car by sunset.

Mt. St. Helens:
After one day off, we climbed Mt. St. Helens via the winter Worm Flows route and we weren't the only ones. The parking lot was packed with skiers and climbers the night before. We got an 12:30 am apline start and made it to the summit before the crowds and just after sunrise at 6 am. We climbed approx. 6,000 vertical feet. With no glaciers or crevasses, the route is merely a steep snow field. The view into the crater left from the 1980 eruption and to the north is one of the most breathtaking things I have ever witnessed.

Mt. Adams:

We took rest day in Portland and headed to Trout Lake, Washington to get our permits to climb Mt. Adams. We learned at the ranger station that the road was snow covered an extra 5.5 miles and an extra 3,000 vertical feet. That changed our 6,000 vertical ft., 12 mile day trip into a 9,000 vertical ft. 23 mile 2-day trip. We hesitated for a moment and said, "Let's do it." And so we did. We snowshoed up the snowy road to the true trailhead with our overnight gear and slept in a wooden shelter barely visible beneath the spring snow cover. We got to bed around 9 pm and got up around 2 am for our summit bid.

I don't know how we kept going with very little recovery time and very little sleep, but we did. We climbed at a solid 1,000 vertical ft/mile and reached the summit via the South Spur route around 8 am. We even hauled our camping chairs up there so we could get a priceless picture.

 More pictures: Pictures here!